Poorer and Sicker: the Republican tax plan for most Americans

November 28, 2017

As Americans return from their Thanksgiving break, Republicans in Congress will also return to their attempt to pass a tax bill before the Christmas recess. In the next two weeks, the Senate will vote on its version, after the House passed its version on November 16th.

In one stroke, the bill could cause 13 million Americans to lose their healthcare coverage, while making the richest Americans even richer at the expense of those less wealthy, according to an analysis of the Congress’s bipartisan Joint Committee on Taxation staff (JCT) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The loss in healthcare coverage will result from increased premiums for those who earn just enough to not qualify for Obamacare subsidies, a consequence of the repeal of the individual mandate.

The expected savings that comes from not providing healthcare for 13 million Americans, via less Medicaid spending and tax credit for premiums, would be used for tax cuts that will only benefit the wealthiest households. By 2027, Americans families making less than $75,000 per year would pay more taxes while those making more would continue to pay less taxes because of expiring personal tax deductions, such as the increase in Child Tax Credit.

The motivation behind the bill is clear: make the rich richer. Republican donors, corporate and wealthy, expect returns on their investments in Republican lawmakers. "My donors are basically saying, 'Get it done or don't ever call me again," Rep. Chris Collins, Republican from New York,  told reporters.

The extreme greed that drives this bill can be seen in the proposal on the estate tax. The Senate bill would hand $4.4 million to each of the 2,000 wealthiest households, with each hand-out the equivalent of providing 1,100 Pell grants for low- and medium-income college students.

One clear beneficiary of the bill will be the corporation, whose tax rate will be reduced from 35% to 20% permanently, while individual tax rates are reduced only temporarily. This will primarily benefit stockholders, thus excluding half of all Americans who own no stock, while benefiting the top 20% of wealthiest Americans who own more than 90% of them.

A tax bill is not only about dollars and cents but also an expression of values. We at PIVOT firmly oppose this bill because we oppose the values that are expressed in it.

We believe that healthcare is a human right, and a law that takes healthcare from 13 million people violates a basic contract between the government and its citizens.

As a community of immigrants and children of immigrants, we also believe in equal opportunity for all people, that those raised in disadvantaged settings should have the same chance to attain happy, productive lives as their peers with more fortunate beginnings. We believe that there are extraordinary talents, skills, and capabilities to contribute at every economic level of our society, and that our country’s future depends on its ability to leverage the energy of all of its people.

At a time of rising economic inequality, when many families are not getting their fair share of the growing economy, we believe it is an act of calculated cruelty to increase taxes on those who can least afford them for the purpose of making the rich richer. If passed, this bill would further widen the income gap and worsen health disparities. Its provisions take opportunity away from many segments of society while concentrating wealth and advantages to those already at the top.

A bill that is so harmful to so many should rightly fail, but instead is moving swiftly through Congress, on track for passing in December. It can only be stopped by the voices of the mass opposed to its values, and we at PIVOT will be adding our voices.